My sister, nine years my senior, would be my second choice to celebrate on this day. She spent a lot of time as a single mother, raising her babies alone. She spent a lot of time helping turn me into the woman I am. She was my best friend and my enemy, my teasing sister and my teacher, my confidant and my cheerleader and my coach.
And this is the second year that we celebrate Mother's Day without her...
I struggle this year, because I have a hard time giving myself credit where it's due. But, there's no one left to celebrate this year, except for me.
This year, my son has stayed on the A/B honor roll. He began with the Talented & Gifted program at school and he loves it. He's asked me a million questions, and if I didn't know the answer, he looked it up on Google on his prized Kindle Fire that he begged to have for a year and still cherishes more than six months later. He has become a big brother and he is an amazing one, never showing an ounce of jealousy, only love and concern and compassion for her.
This year, I conceived my daughter, and did everything I knew to grow her safely in my belly. This year, I watched my tiny gummy bear on an ultrasound screen and listened to her heart beat, and I cried. I looked at my tiny little alien being and found out she was a girl, and I cried. With not only my husband, but my son, my nephews, and my niece, I watched a 4D ultrasound on my son's birthday of his baby sister moving around in my womb, and I cried. This year, I proved my strength to myself more than anyone else, as I birthed my daughter without an epidural... And I cried. I looked across the room as they weighed her, saw my sister's foot on my daughter's body sticking up out of the tiny bed... And I cried. My daughter was rehospitalized for jaundice, and I cried and cried. And then I fought a lab tech for my right to hold and comfort her as they took blood, and I was a warrior. She failed to gain weight and I had to give up breastfeeding, and I cried. SHE cried for days on end, completely unlike her, and I took her to her doctor and I was a warrior. I took her to the hospital and fed her a bottle of barium and watched on a screen as her body refluxed it, and I was a warrior. I've been a warrior through medicine changes and new suggestions, and as nothing seems to help my constantly happy little girl with her symptoms, I've remained a warrior... The day after Mother's Day, I will load her up, drive an hour and a half, and see a specialist, and hopefully he will make things better. But I will be a warrior until SOMEONE makes her all better. She is my daughter, and maybe I will be the mother to her that my mother was, and maybe one day she will be that kind of mother too.
This year, three kids without a Mom have begun to bloom from their grief under my watch. They have pulled grades up and taken part in band and JROTC and won awards and learned the value of a dollar and so much more... They have begun to call me Mom and my heart swells and clenches all at once. If I could bring back their real mother, I would, in a split second... But, to know that I have filled even a fraction of her shoes...
I am not the mother who birthed them, but if they HAD to lose her, I am proud to have earned the right to the name.
I have no mother to celebrate this year. Except myself. And this year, I have learned through tears and joys, that I am a mother worth celebrating. So are you, and if you don't know it already... You should learn it over the next year.